John Lennon Once Said Being in The Beatles Was a ‘F***in’ Humiliation’ 

John Lennon spent his twenties rocketing to fame in The Beatles. While he was living his dream of being a musician, he also said that the expectations placed on the band were too high. Outside of music, they had social obligations that were embarrassing to fulfill. Overall, he said that in order to be a Beatle, you had to be willing to humiliate yourself completely.

John Lennon said The Beatles had to do more and more over the years

The Beatles were the biggest band in the world by 1964. People used whatever power or sway they had in order to meet the group.

“The bigger we got, the more unreality we had to face; the more we were expected to do until, when you didn’t sort of shake hands with a Mayor’s wife, she would start abusing you and screaming and saying ‘How dare they?’” he told Rolling Stone in 1971.

He complained that people would threaten to go to the press if they didn’t comply with their wishes.

“There is one of Derek [Taylor’s] stories in which we were asleep after the show in the hotel somewhere in America, and the Mayor’s wife comes and says, ‘Get them up, I want to meet them,’” he said. “Derek said, ‘I’m not going to wake them.’ She started to scream, ‘You get them up or I’ll tell the press.’ There was always that — they were always threatening that they would tell the press about us, if we didn’t see their bloody daughter with her braces on her teeth. It was always the police chief’s daughter or the Lord Mayor’s daughter, all the most obnoxious kids — because they had the most obnoxious parents — that we were forced to see all the time. We had these people thrust on us.”

John Lennon said it was humiliating to be in The Beatles

He said these forcefully arranged meetings were the most embarrassing part of being in The Beatles.

“The most humiliating experiences were like sitting with the Mayor of the Bahamas, when we were making Help and being insulted by these f***in’ junked up middle-class b****es and bastards who would be commenting on our work and commenting on our manners,” he said. “I was always drunk, insulting them. I couldn’t take it. It would hurt me. I would go insane, swearing at them. I would do something.”

He said that to be as famous as The Beatles were, the band had to be willing to humiliate themselves.

“All that business was awful, it was a f***in’ humiliation,” he said. “One has to completely humiliate oneself to be what the Beatles were, and that’s what I resent. I didn’t know, I didn’t forsee. It happened bit by bit, gradually until this complete craziness is surrounding you, and you’re doing exactly what you don’t want to do with people you can’t stand — the people you hated when you were ten.”

He often spoke negatively about The Beatles when the band broke up

Lennon often spoke negatively about his time in the group in the immediate aftermath of their breakup. He criticized the music the group made, saying that his solo work and collaborations with Yoko Ono were far better. He also said that they were nothing like their clean image.

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“F***in’ big bastards, that’s what the Beatles were,” he said. “You have to be a bastard to make it, that’s a fact, and the Beatles are the biggest bastards on earth.”